The Importance of Healthy Corporate Culture on Worksites

The Importance of Healthy Corporate Culture on Worksites

Culture might be a buzzword within the corporate world these days, but is it really relevant in the construction industry? In truth, great company culture means much more than having beanbags in the office or going on quarterly team building excursions. Instead, it describes how employees feel about their role, their employers, and their co-workers—and the reality is that the culture of any company dictates how smoothly its operations will go. Just as a building needs a firm foundation, the team driving your construction company does too. It’s time for construction culture to become the new “it” term on the block, because when culture’s in your toolkit, the results will speak for themselves.Why You Should Care About Construction Culture

True talent is hard to come by in the construction industry. So much so that 80% of construction companies have a hard time filling specialist craft positions. If I tell you that 46% of job seekers consider the culture they’d enter an important factor, and 86% will actively avoid companies with a bad reputation, might that grab your attention? Going further, there’s so much more to construction culture than attracting and retaining the talent you need to push your company forwards. Establishing this conceptual grail means unlocking your team’s potential for collaboration, commitment, passion, and high-caliber work. If you’re still not convinced, perhaps the potential 202% increase in performance yielded by this kind of jump in engagement will whet your whistle.

So what makes an outstanding company culture—or more specifically, what would great construction culture look like? Well, there’s no clear cut and singular recipe for success, but common themes include the forging of diverse and inclusive teams that, commitment to worksite and employee safety, strong communication, clear values demonstrated by leadership, an environment that allows individuals to feel heard, and opportunity for employee progression. Hammering that last point home, research reveals that 94% of employees would stay in their current role longer if they saw opportunity for professional development.Forging Iron Clad Construction Culture

We’ve covered the reasons to prioritize culture in your construction company, but before we tackle how to tackle the task, what happens when construction culture is neglected? Time and time again, it is our experience that eroding company culture means a fast track to high turnover, employee theft, malingering, workplace discrimination, white collar crime, and worse. Fraud alone costs construction companies around the world an estimated $860 billion annually. So the chances are, if you don’t take the proactive step of calling in an investigator to course-correct company culture proactively, you’ll likely be calling them later to investigate crimes that are breaking down the business you worked so hard to build up.

So, you’ve got the picture—company culture is just as important an investment for your construction company as the latest machinery or cloud-based work order system. But where do you begin? Well, as is the case for so many things in life, it’s vital to understand where you’re starting from. The best way to get the lay of the land is with an industry-tailored culture audit from Lauth Investigations International
Our specialist investigators will perform a detailed analysis of your construction culture, assessing factors such as communication, shared values, company history, caliber of leadership, marketplace positioning, undetected misconduct, and more. From there, we will provide you with a clear and concise road map to get your culture back on track. If you’re ready for guidance on how to move your team onto firmer footing and realize the rewards that come with prioritizing culture in the construction industry, contact our team today.

Signs of a Home Improvement Scam

Signs of a Home Improvement Scam

Adding value to one’s home is an investment many homeowners hope to make to their property. One of the most common ways to do this is by renovating the interior of the home, the exterior or both. When it comes to vetting contractors for the job, consumers must be vigilant of scammers who hope to make a quick buck off an unsuspecting home owner. That’s why consumers must know the signs of a home improvement scam when they see it.

Signs of a Home Improvement Scam

No one wants to accuse a seemingly hard-working professional of being a theif or a fraud, but caveat emptor dictates that consumers must have a reasonable amount of knowledge in order to vet potential contractors.

The Door Knock

One of the hallmarks of a home improvement scam is that the contractor will cold-knock on doors claiming that they were simply “in the area” and noticed the exterior of your home could use repairs. Reputable contractors to no blindly knock on people’s doors soliciting their services.

Sloppy Seconds

A home improvement scam is usually designed to turn a quick profit, which means low material costs. Scammers will typically tell their marks that they “just happen” to have leftover materials from a previous job. Reputable contractors or builders would order fresh materials to ensure the integrity of their work.

On the Spot

Scammers typically want there to be a quick decision regarding their services. Whether it’s just a handshake or signing on the dotted line, scammers have the disposition of a stereotypical used car salesman.

Cash Only

Scammers want the entire fee to be paid up front before any work is completed, and tend to only accept cash as payment. This is to eliminate possible paper trails that would document their grifting behavior and increase the chance of facing consequences.

Permit Please?

Being a licensed contractor makes it much easier to procure building permits for various jobs. However, when a contractor is unlicensed or uninsured, they may attempt to have the mark procure the licenses—once again to avoid accountability for any wrongdoing that will take place.

I Know a Guy

When a mark does not have the funds that are “required” for a job, a scammer may suggest that you borrow money from a lender they know personally, perhaps with the promise that they can get you a low interest rate, or the “friend rate.”

Tips for Avoiding a Home Improvement Scam

  • When vetting contractors for a home improvement job, make sure your list of candidates is comprised only of licensed and insured contractors. You can verify a contractor’s license through your state or county government, and ask that any candidate provide proof of insurance.
  • Begin building a list of potential contractors by asking your friends and neighbors for recommendations. As long as the reference comes from a source you know and trust who has utilized that contractor’s services, the proof should be in the pudding, so to speak.
  • You can also find a list of reputable contractors from your local Home Builders Association or an equivalent for your area to see if there have been any formal complaints filed against any one contractor. You can check online reviews, their Google rating, and even check with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Get multiple estimates from multiple candidates. Legitimate estimates should include the description of the work requested, materials required, a completion date, and of course a price. Though it may be tempting, going with the cheapest estimate is not always the best option. If you observe huge disparities between estimates, ask the contractor in question.
  • Read all contracts and legally binding documents carefully. Not all contracts will be the same state to state and you must make sure you read any documents in totality before signing. Make sure the contract includes
    • Contractor information: name, address, phone number, license number.
    • Estimated state and completion date
    • Detailed notes on the spoken terms of the agreement when consulting with the contractor.
    • A written statement of your right to cancel within three business days.
  • Never pay the full amount for the completed project up front.
Why Hiring a Private Investigator Is More Common Than You Think

Why Hiring a Private Investigator Is More Common Than You Think

There’s a romantic notion of what private investigators might look like—thanks to the long history of fascinating fictional characters in literature, cinema, and television. Picture the sweep of a long overcoat, a tilted fedora, and dramatically shaded scenes of late-night stakeouts! 

While the fantasy is fun to imagine, in reality, contemporary private investigators perform a vast array of essential functions—serving as a vital resource for private citizens, businesses, and organizations alike. More importantly, because a large part of their work involves blending in, any stranger passing you in the street could be a private detective on the case. If you find yourself asking, “Are there private investigators near me right now?”, the answer is probably yes!

Of course, there’s no need to to start looking over your shoulder just yet! Simply because there are local private investigators busy at work, uncovering the truth of one matter or another, doesn’t mean that they are on your tail specifically. In fact, the best private investigation services cover a broad exploratory scope. In answer to the question, “What do private investigators do?”, lets explore some of the types of private investigations that this discreet professional might engage in. Perhaps among them is the very service that you require!

  1. Attorney and Legal Support

You might be surprised to know that many law firms turn to private detective services in order to build better cases. Because private investigators have access to many of the same databases as law enforcement, and are experts in seeking information, locating witnesses, and diligently compiling data, they are an ideal ally for any attorney working a complex case against the clock.

  1. Missing Persons

When someone goes missing, there are any number of reasons why law enforcement might not pour the necessary resources into tracking them down. Hiring a private investigator means setting someone to the task who will dedicate themselves entirely to locating the individual in questions—even if international travel is required.

  1. Background Checks

These days, companies can’t be too careful about who they hire or who their business partners are. Sadly, we live in an era of corporate fraud, intellectual property theft, and more. So many organizations turn to private investigation services for a higher caliber of background check than their HR departments would be able to achieve.

  1. Heir Searches

The line of inheritance is not always a simple thing, and often the destiny of an estate is placed on hold because rightful heirs are unknown or unlocated. In these moments, the best private investigator around will be uniquely suited to finding that individual, harnessing the same skills that they would for any missing person or witness location investigation.

  1. Divorce and Child Custody Cases

Both divorce and child custody cases can become messy business when parties do not agree—and particularly when there is a disparity in power or resources. When an obvious crime hasn’t been committed, building a solid case can be a challenge. In these instances, a private investigator can help to form an iron clad picture of the reality of the situation, facilitating more favorable judgments for their clients.

  1. Corporate Intelligence

Concerned that a non-compete agreement has been breached or intellectual property has been appropriated? Wanting to get a clear picture of a competitors current strategy or a company’s credentials ahead of a merger? Local private investigators can illuminate the truth through corporate intelligence gathering.

  1. Security Analysis

From digital security to on-site safety, a private investigation firm is a likely port of call for businesses hoping to find any holes in their defenses. Better yet, a trusted investigator with expertise in this area will be able to advise on how to enhance security to its full potential.

  1. Workplace Investigations

While many larger organizations have am HR department that can carry out workplace investigations when something untoward occurs, they still might choose to outsource the task to private investigators. This is because a private detective is an impartial presence, so their evidence gathering and ultimate testimony can offer greater protection against liability should the investigation result in litigation.

  1. Art and Jewelry Theft

Oftentimes, law enforcement agencies simply don’t have the resources to chase down precious and sentimental valuables, inevitably placing greater focus on solving violent crimes. When something treasured vanishes, hiring a private investigation firm offers peace of mind that pursuit is still underway, making recovering the stolen items is more likely.

  1. Corporate Culture Audits

Rather than waiting until signs of cultural deterioration start to manifest in the form of workplace theft, malingering, or worse, businesses are increasingly turning to private investigation services to analyze and improve their corporate culture proactively.

  1. Good Ol’ Surveillance

The roles above only scratch the surface of what private investigators do within today’s society. Of course, you can always trust that they continue to covertly carry out surveillance whenever an investigation warrants it! That said, while the endeavor might be old fashioned in its sentimentality, contemporary surveillance is a pretty high-tech affair.
Did any of those activities surprise you? Learn more about the role of private investigators by exploring the Lauth Investigations International website. Or, if you have a specific challenge to navigate, why not contact our team directly? We are always here to answer your questions, and jump on the case at hand.

The Pros of Outsourcing Background Checks to Third Parties

The Pros of Outsourcing Background Checks to Third Parties

Whether you own a business or manage a nonprofit organization, one of the inalienable truths about both is that you need good people to be successful. Good help can be hard to find, but not if you have the correct procedures in place with regards to hiring and promotion. That means implementing comprehensive background checks and exercising due-diligence in confirming the facts. However, many businesses and nonprofits find that they are ill-equipped to conduct thorough background checks in addition to managing their day-to-day operations. That’s why many in leadership are looking to outsource background check procedures to third-party companies.

When it comes to handling background investigations internally, the most important thing to remember is that they are internal. This can become a problem in a situation where a current employee is being promoted from within. The internal investigator who is conducting the background investigation may have a personal relationship with the candidate, which can muddle the integrity of the investigation. That’s why when businesses outsource background check investigations, they can count on integrity to be a tenant of that investigation. This way the investigation can avoid any conflict of interest.

When you outsource background check operations to a third-party firm, you also get the expertise that’s necessary to get comprehensive, clarified intelligence. Internal employees who’ve been tasked with conducting background checks may lack the required insight to properly contextualize items of interest. For instance, some employers look at a long address history on a candidate’s background check as a sign of transience and a lack of ability to make a serious commitment. However, a professional like a private investigator would look at all aspects of the background check for proper context—like a history of house-flipping for profit that would require a new address after completing each project. This crucial context prevents that candidate from being disqualified in the first round of due-diligence in hiring processes, and the company would not miss out on an opportunity in a new employee.

Background checks, when executed correctly, take a great deal of time. All of the facts must be cross-referenced for confirmation, facts must be properly contextualized, and it may become necessary to contact subjects of interest on the background check in order to exercise the proper due-diligence. This can further exacerbate the disruptions that the hiring process brings to daily operations. With disruption comes loss of profit and frustration for the internal team. Making the decision to outsource background check operations can ensure that the day-to-day of a company or non-profit is not interrupted to their detriment, while maintaining the integrity and clarity necessary.

If you need comprehensive background check services for your corporation or nonprofit, call Lauth Investigations International today at 317-951-1100, or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com

Flush Out Workplace Theft With A Corporate Culture Audit

Flush Out Workplace Theft With A Corporate Culture Audit

employee theft

95% of all businesses have experienced employee theft at some point or another, so when the odd thing goes missing, that’s just a normal day at the office, right? It might not seem like a big deal when a pile of Post-Its or some break room supplies drift away, but small-scale theft can be a canary-esque warning that something far worse is brewing. If workplace culture turns sour and a breeding ground for theft emerges, your losses might remain petty—but they might extend into embezzlement or corporate data theft, so consider those small losses a cue to sit up and get your eye on the ball.

Corporate theft is a spectrum that spans everything between pocketing a pen from the supply closet, through to some of the most nefarious forms of white collar crime. Leadership uncovering a misdeed at any point on this sliding scale can easily dismiss it as an isolated incident, but will theft truly be nipped in the bud through a single disciplinary action or termination? More importantly, what else could these incidences be warning of?

When disappearances or losses are repeating like an unwelcome re-run that should have long been off the air, there’s a good chance that the problem has entered into pervasive territory and is already denting your bottom line. In these moment, turning to a trusted corporate investigations bureau skilled in addressing these kinds of issues is likely going to be your best defense against accelerating future losses.

What Makes Employees Decide to Steal in the First Place?

An employee on the take may simply be a lone bad apple, but it’s worth stepping back and looking at the larger picture after concluding your corporate internal investigations. Perhaps surprisingly, the most common motivations driving corporate theft don’t include the desire to be a criminal mastermind!

Instead, employees might feel as if their employer has wronged them, or that they are not adequately appreciated or compensated for their efforts. They might imagine that their crime is victimless either because it is small, or because the business is insured against theft. Finally, they might have found themselves within an environment where nobody is held accountable for their actions—letting them know not only that they wont be either, but that taking a moral stance within a toxic workplace might just be a waste of their time.

Each and every one of these drivers for employee theft can be traced back to an erosion of corporate culture. When corporate culture is strong, employees feel valued and find satisfaction in succeeding. This forges positive feedback that propels the whole team forwards. So, how can you tell if your corporate culture is in trouble?

What Does Healthy Corporate Culture Look Like?

A good place to start is in understanding what prospering corporate culture is supposed to look like. Healthy workplace culture can be thought of as a cycle—a beloved and welcome rerun in this case—that begins with happy employees. When your team at large are thriving, they will be more engaged, creative, and productive in their daily working lives. Of course, this bountiful reality is the perfect incentive for leadership to continue to invest in their team, delivering rewards such as pay-raises, opportunities, benefits, and praise.

These indicators tell employees that their work is being valued, which boosts their happiness further—and so the cycle continues. Not only can this positive feedback loop allow a business to storm through successive growth, but it can also create a culture of resilience and trust that allows riding out the storm whenever an economic downturn or industry challenge creates bumps in the road. If your efforts to kick-start this kind of triumphant working environment have fallen flat to date, then a corporate culture audit is going to bring whatever is letting you down into focus.

The Risk of Letting Employee Theft and Poor Corporate Culture Slide

If corporate theft is the canary warning of a corporate culture crisis in the coal mine, then what can go wrong if you don’t take action? Sadly, the manifestation of these kinds of pervasive problems can extend far beyond having to buy your stationary twice over. Undervalued employees will not only underperform themselves, but they will inevitably contribute negatively to the engagement of others.

Time theft might be the next impact, as breaks become extended or multiplied, followed potentially by FMLA or compensation fraud. Fundamentally, reoccurring instances of employee theft aren’t something you can afford to ignore. When we consider that 33% of corporate bankruptcies in the US are linked to employee theft, it becomes clear that proactivity is the best approach to keeping corporate theft down, and corporate culture riding high.

How a Corporate Culture Audit Can Help

Trying to assess corporate culture problems from within can be a little bit like trying to see the wood for the trees. Those who are engaging in employee theft will likely be protecting their actions from your eyes, and other employees may feel conflicted by a sense of loyalty to their co-workers, or a shared sense of frustration with their employer. Rather than spiraling through increasingly heavy-handed corporate internal investigations, bringing in expert private investigators to conduct a corporate culture audit can be the most effective way to break a bad pattern of employee theft, misconduct, and underperformance.  

A corporate culture audit can be seen as the equivalent to going to the doctors for a thorough checkup. All areas are evaluated for signs of illness, so that causes can be addressed—and not just symptoms. When corporate investigators carry out an objective and independent audit on your behalf, their comprehensive approach will take in everything from internal operations to your hiring processes, and from spanner-in-the-works employees through to leadership unknowingly taking a damaging approach. Not only will they provide an in-depth report on the current corporate culture landscape of your business, but also a clear road map for resolution and ultimately prosperity.
If you think your business or organization would benefit from a corporate culture audit, get in touch with Lauth Investigations International today. Going far beyond assisting in corporate theft cases, for over 30 years Lauth has been providing corporations with proactive solutions to stimulate real success. We are always here to answer your questions and provide a free no-obligation quote.

Launching Powerful Undercover Theft Operations In The Workplace

Launching Powerful Undercover Theft Operations In The Workplace

corporate theft

When times get tough, corporate investigations become indispensable. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses large and small have had to keep their wits about them in order to survive. Sailing close to the wind, cutting costs, and stretching resources have become the hallmarks of true-grit leadership—something worthy of celebration, no doubt, but also a reality that comes with a price tag of increased vulnerability to the perils of corporate theft.

Unfortunately for all, the present financial landscape means that theft is a temptation to which more people than usual will inevitably succumb. While it might be easy to imagine why people could feel motivated to take without entitlement under such circumstances, it is more vital than ever that corporations can act quickly to tackle all forms of theft—so that they can keep their businesses afloat, and their dedicated employees safe and secure.

Why It’s So Important to Turn the Lens Inwards

Whether you’re missing inventory, the numbers won’t crunch, or you’ve discovered that sensitive company data has fallen into the wrong hands, there’s a good chance that you’re bearing the brunt of corporate theft. How so? Because research indicates that as much as 90% of all significant theft-related corporate losses come at the hands of employees. Staggeringly, the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that American businesses lose roughly $50 billion as a result of employee theft each year.

Whatever their motives and whatever their target, a thief in your midst will likely cover their tracks the moment they think their crimes have been detected. This can make undercover theft operations the most powerful type of corporate investigation at your disposal. When you’ve got no idea who’s to blame—or perhaps. more frustratingly, you’ve got a strong hunch but lack the evidence to prove it—a skilled undercover investigator is ideally equipped to efficiently and discreetly gather and document the information required to act.

What Types of Corporate Investigations Can Be Conducted Undercover?

Not all corporate assets are something that a person can physically lay their hands on. So, while some undercover investigations may aim to root out those responsible for stock disappearances, others may target time theft, corporate data theft, intellectual property theft, and corporate fraud. Adding yet more traction, an undercover investigation within the workplace can be combined with surveillance operations, the gathering of corporate competitive intelligence, data breach investigations, and many more forms of scrutiny, until a complete and clear picture comes to light.

When equipped with all the facts, your organization will be able to act quickly with the peace of mind that the chosen path of resolution is air-tight against legal scrutiny. An external corporate investigations collaborator will add an iron-clad layer of impartiality to the conclusions that lead what happens next. Any business operating with integrity should be able to boldly ride the wave of an economically challenging period without the need to look over their shoulders—it’s the job of a gold-standard corporate investigator to facilitate this.

Corporate Investigations Offer So Much More Than a Single Solution

When your gut is telling you that your organization is a victim of theft, it’s a tough truth that the scale of the problem may be worse than you imagine. Losses appearing on the radar can be a sign that the social dynamics within a workplace have soured, and corporate culture is reaching boiling point. While some corporate thieves operate alone, it’s important to be wary that entire theft rings can develop when toxicity is allowed to fester unchecked.

Trust is a vital ingredient for any thriving workplace, which makes removing those with bad intentions and re-building corporate culture the only route to prosperity when such situations arise. Whether your organization is experiencing the first signs of trouble, or is already in deep, expert corporate investigators can help you course-correct by conducting a corporate culture audit, delivering corporate security and investigations support, and providing in-depth corporate background checks as a protective stage of recruitment.
If you would like to talk through your suspicions with a specialist corporate investigator, the dedicated corporate team at Lauth Investigations is ready to assist. Learn more about the various ways in which we can support you, or contact us today for expert guidance and tailored solutions.